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342Jun2 Pelagic Trip

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  • Robert J. Keiffer
    Jun 3 4:29 PM
      The June 2, 2002, pelagic trip out of Noyo Harbor as coordinated by "Toby"
      and the Mendocino Coast Audubon Chapter was a smashing success. We had a
      full boat and about fifteen other folks were apparently turned away. We
      began the trip at 0800 with the usual Pigeon Guillemots at the harbor mouth
      and Western Gulls scattered about. We were barely out of the harbor when
      a shearwater was spotted by the close buoy no more than a few hundred yards
      from the harbor mouth. Peter Pyle quickly recognized the small bright
      white and jet black birds as being a rarity with few possibilities. Peter
      immediately yelled out that we had a possible Manx Shearwater and
      instructed us to look for white undertail coverts.... and yes it did have
      them. The bird was approached within 75 yards and made a couple circle
      flights around the buoy giving us great looks. Once reviewed and accepted
      by the CRBC this will be the first record of a Manx Shearwater for
      Mendocino County (species number 386 for Mendocino). According to Peter
      Pyle, in 1993 during El Nino years, about 100 Manx Shearwaters, normally
      found in Atlantic Ocean waters, slipped around the tip of South America and
      were observed off the coast of Chile. these birds have been roaming
      Pacific waters since then and experts suspect that they are breeding
      somewhere in the Pacific. Manx Shearwaters have been showing up now and
      then along the California nearshore for the last few years.

      The rest of the trip had great visibility but was on the rather rough side
      with pretty good swells and a cold NW wind. We had many periods of
      seeing no birds, but chumming and creating slicks with cod-liver oil
      resulted in a few birds tracking the scent. We had about 30-40 Pacific
      Loons, 20 Black-footed Albatrosses, 100+ Sooty Shearwaters, 10-20
      Pink-footed Shearwaters, 1 Parasitic Jaeger, 1 Pomarine Jaeger, many
      Common Murres, 10-12 Pigeon Guillemots, 1 probable Red Phalarope, 4-8
      Rhinoceros Auklets, Western Gulls, and Glaucous-winged Gulls.

      These are my estimated numbers and may differ slightly from the "official"
      count compiled by the leaders ....I just wanted to get the word out. It
      looks like there is a fall trip being planned and I encourage each of you
      to participate.

      Bob Keiffer

      Robert J. Keiffer
      Principal Supt. of Agriculture
      UC Hopland Research & Extension Center
      4070 University Road
      Hopland, CA 95449
      (707) 744-1424 FAX (707) 744-1040
      HREC website: http://danrrec.ucdavis.edu/hopland/home_page.html